Sunday, 17 January 2016

Post 381 - Need Nature Enhanced Education

Woodland walks got me hooked on nature from when I was little. 
Hey everyone, today's post is 381 and recently I have been reading posts by two other great young naturalists, Mya Bambrick who has written to Nicky Morgan about nature in education, and Elliot Monteith who was covering how and why he got into birding.

Like Mya I wrote to Nicky Morgan back on day 200 and shared the response I got on day 250. Together with Elliot's post it reminded me that I hadn't got round to thinking about nature and education for a while but this is another thing I am quite passionate about. We need nature in education for lots of reasons and I thought I'd cover why I think it is so important.

So, more to what Mya was saying, and something I feel really strongly about. Education in Schools.

An awesome boat trip at Blakney. 
At my primary school, I got basically nothing about nature at all in lessons. I mean, nothing. Nothing at all. I have to say the school was good though as with a few donations of feeders, feed and a bird book I was able to help set up a lunchtime bird club during my final year there. We didn't see many birds, mainly garden birds, but at least there was a bit of nature time for around 10 of us every Thursday.

At my secondary school we're doing a little bit on nature but it's in science and so far it's only looking at cells of onions under a micro-scope and that sort of thing. My deputy-head teacher seems to be very interested in science and nature though so it's better and it's still only early days (my second term there). The trouble is it's not just biology and nature itself that people need to know about, it's more conservation and how to look after the environment and help to stop all of the declining birds and everything else like that, that's important. Schools are the best way to get this through to people seeing as most people in the world go to schools but not much of the population has internet access, even less so which they use to look at things like this issue.

All species great and small are important.
I only know one other person at school (though I haven't asked them all...) that is at all interested in nature, I actually have some pretty interesting discussions with him. But based on these figures, if it was the same all over the world, I did a little calculation to find that only 0.26% of the world's children would be interested in nature. I mean, that's 99.7% of the world that isn't interested in nature. If we just put even one lesson every two weeks about nature and conservation, how much better would that percentage be? I wonder what percentage of the world's children are interested in, football say. 99.7% is my guess! I hope these figures are wrong but they show that nature isn't something discussed at school much.

Who couldn't love a Bloody-nosed beetle!
The letters Mya and I got back from Nick Gibb are very similar and when Dad and I talked about the response we got we thought I needed to ask the question more carefully. The curriculum looks at biology and geography fieldwork but Mr Gibb says nothing about educating children to care for the environment and nature.

Why does this upset me? If not many people in my school know much about nature, and fewer care enough to help it out, what will happen to the world? There is a lot of concern for the world, the environment and many of our native species let alone the lions, rhinos and elephants. We need education on these issues if nature is to have a chance in the future.

Day 253 - Lifecycle of Dragonflies
If schools or parents could get children out into forests, moors, beaches or wetlands to experience the natural world and start to appreciate it,  maybe that would start to change things. I mean nature has so many benefits to us as people, I really liked Elliot's blog as it sums up ways nature can help us all. It's great to have a calm place to go and get absorbed in the dabbling of ducks, watching butterflies flitter about and feed, to watch a dragonfly emerge from its larvae. If we can get children to appreciate its wonder then hopefully more will care and some will start to help it out.

I will be asking some of my friends this week if they want to come to a reserve as I do my Yorkshire reserve challenge. Hopefully a bit of my passion will rub off on them and they'll get the nature bug too!

I hope you enjoyed this rant,



  1. Completely agree with you Zach, it's so important to teach this in schools and it's fun too! Amazing photos as always. - Tasha

  2. Absolutely spot on Zach. We need education of environmental problems and such at earlier ages or else people continue not to be interested as they grow up. Nice post!

    Gus R